HAZMAT fees: Who requires it and who gets the money?


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ClemBert
March 26, 2010, 06:14 PM
I've noted HAZMAT fees seem to differ depending on who you order from. I've seen the fee as $20, $22.50, $25, etc. So, who requires that a HAZMAT be paid, who determines the fee amount, and who gets the money?

I recently purchased $200 worth of primers and powder from a supplier. I was charged $20. Apparently, some of the powder is on backorder but the instock powder was already shipped. This means my order will be filled as a split order. However, I only paid the $20 HAZMAT fee once even though multiple shipments will go out as the other powders become an instock item with the supplier. Can anyone make sense of this?

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mykeal
March 26, 2010, 06:47 PM
Hazmat fees are established by the common carriers, and they receive the money. They represent the (claimed) additional costs associated with special handling of hazardous materials in interstate and in some cases intrastate shipping by common carriers. The actual 'special handling' required varies greatly depending on the materials and source/route/destination of the shipment as different states and municipalities have different regulations regarding notification, routing and packaging both in transit and storage between shipments. There are many web sites that attempt to explain how such materials are handled; do a web search on 'hazardous materials shipping fees' and pick a few. It will not become clear.

WALKERs210
March 26, 2010, 07:18 PM
In regards to interstate moving of HAZMAT's the DOT has a lot of regs in place that are very strict. MY niece and her husband drove for a company that hauled class A explosives and the list of do's and don't would stagger the mind. Their common joke about these loads were they were allowed one mistake and then they would never know they made it.

ClemBert
March 26, 2010, 09:47 PM
The part I'm most curious about is my one time payment of $20 for a multi-package shipment of "hazardous" material. I've received one box so far and expect to receive another box in about a week. Don't get me wrong, I'm thankful to not have to pay $20 for each box. I'm just curious to know as to how it is determined why one would pay once for a split order versus being charged for every box.

medalguy
March 27, 2010, 12:07 AM
Some sellers eat the additional charges as a customer service and I'd guess that's the case here. Be grateful because most sellers won't do that. At least, the ones I've bought from. I had a well-known seller call me and inform me that they had part of my order in stock, and the second part would entail another hazmat fee. The real catch was that if I didn't accept the first part, they would cancel that part of the order and I'd have to reorder that item. :cuss:

mykeal
March 27, 2010, 07:10 AM
I'm just curious to know as to how it is determined why one would pay once for a split order versus being charged for every box.
That's up to the seller. He's obviously trying to be customer-friendly and absorbing that second fee; some sellers won't do that. He's probably paying the carrier both fees, although he might have a contract with the carrier that he just pays one lump sum for the service on a monthly basis regardless of how many such shipments he makes. There are all kinds of possibilities here, and no way to know for sure what the deal is.

By the way, I need to clarify something I said in my first post: that the carriers received the money. Obviously that's true in the end, but I didn't mean to imply that they receive all the money. The fee obviously goes through the seller, he then pays the shipper. But how much of the fee actually goes to the shipper depends on the contract with the seller. Big outfits like Midway and Cabela's will get a price break that the little guys don't.

ClemBert
March 28, 2010, 11:26 AM
He's probably paying the carrier both fees, although he might have a contract with the carrier that he just pays one lump sum for the service on a monthly basis regardless of how many such shipments he makes.

Although we will probably never know the details the above theory makes the most sense to me. I never researched the topic before and had mistakenly ass-u-me-d that the government was somehow involved and forced mail order retailers to pay them a HAZMAT fee like a tax. Their justification could have been something along the lines of paying for possible services rendered by the government for cleanup of spills or for paying for homeland security services, etc. My mistake but the way things seem to be going in this country one never knows for sure.

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